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Story Notes:
Warning & A/N: This is the result of a strange plot bunny that came to me and wouldnr17;t be laid to rest until I did something about it. NOT A SEX STORY! Only listed as 'slash' due to mention of a relationship. Does that make you feel better? Sheesh! Can be considered parallel canon or AU; your choice.

Title: Veil of a Half-Life
Author: Shay (jracklesfan77, untold_story, TheWickedQuill)
Dark Angel (set during or post S2)
Angst, AU
Rating: PG-13+ (attn - see warnings!)
Pairing: A/W
Style: Standalone, Complete
Word count: 1348

Summary: The boy was everything he'd been taught to hate and everything he hated to love, but love he did.



Veil of a Half-Life


There were times when he wished he were born into any other religion, raised in any other faith, able to ignore the teachings of his youth and throw off the beliefs he'd lived with for as long as he could remember.

Perhaps then the guilt wouldn't eat at him and he wouldn't feel the weight of betrayal, a double betrayal; one of his family and people and the other of his lover, his other half. 

And maybe it wouldn't be so increasingly difficult to say goodbye, to part from his lover and leave his thoughts, feelings, words and emotions locked in the third floor bedroom of a broken down old apartment building on the edge of town.

Perhaps then he wouldn't feel so disgustingly dirty, used and using, corrupted and corrupting.

"I won't ask you where he is, but tell me...is he safe and happy?"

"Would I tell you if he wasn't?"

They were at an impasse, a father in need of reassurance regarding his son and the one with answers unwilling or unable to give them.

That day things moved slowly. Movements were unhurried, bodies tense, eyes wary. Each was looking at the other as if waiting for him to spring and attack or defend. But neither did, or would, and when the older of the two laid his head on the younger's breast in the aftermath of a meeting of two bent but not quite broken souls, there was a moment of clarity and a humbling of spirit for them both.

A hot tear fell on cooling skin and the words came without warning.

"He's safe and happy." There was a pause during which the boy ran long fingers through his lover's hair, offering a measure of comfort with his touch. A shudder of ease quivered through them both and the young lover chuckled and added, "He has a girlfriend."

Chapped lips smiled into taut, golden flesh and the man raised his head and brushed their lips together.

More was said in that single action than had ever been expressed between them before. And they knew, both of them, that there was no going back from here, just as they knew there was no future, either.

The boy was everything he'd been taught to hate and everything he hated to love, but love he did. Fiercely. Fastidiously. Furiously. He loved and was loved - in dark corners of crumbling buildings, beneath the sewage grates just underground, in gritty, smoky alleys and sometimes in the back of a burned out van or an abandoned lot. Anywhere they could grab and hold a few moments alone without anger or animosity, unquestioning, unhindered, away from the watchful eyes of others. Only there could they keep politics and religion and the law at bay, outside of their bed and far from their hearts. Or as far as they could for as long as possible before the guilt ate them both from within and they'd turn wordlessly, dressing silent and hurriedly, unable to meet one another's eyes and rushing to put distance between them.

They set out to avoid one another, but it never lasted, crashing together explosively when it became too much to stay apart. And the cycle repeated itself day after day, week after week after month, while the battle waged in the background and the casualties continued to mount. Still, their arms never turned on one another. The only fall of bodies was that of their own - upon a dank mattress or a dusty floor in cries of passion, not war.

"If I'd known it could be this good I would never have tried to kill you," was the quiet admission of a sated man on the cusp of new discovery and deeper meaning.

"Yeah, you would, but you wouldn't have meant it." The correction flowed through laughter as his younger lover lay spent by his side, his eyes, too, shining with the wonderment of their connection.

But words were never important to them; they traded too many insults and barbs for the sake of appearances. Here, in this space they shared, words didnr17;t compare. Their actions spoke louder; caresses were whispers, keening and cries conveyed that which they otherwise would not. Their lips and tongues were too busy with other, important tasks to be used for trivial things like speech.

There was heat and undeniable chemistry between them behind closed doors. And yet, they both adopted their old masks in public or when faced with each other in the presence of their own men.

"494," His was a dark hiss, a disgusted sneer that belied the true need and want simmering beneath the surface.

"My good friend, Ames," that casual, flippant, devil-may-care attitude that covered the urge to lay claim ("You belong to me,") to his supposed nemesis so none could contest his word or his will, words that would never, ever come, relegated instead to too-few moments stolen when possible and never long enough to satisfy the yearning of his heart.

No matter the circumstances, they always maintained cover, never slipped, never allowing their guard to fall or alerting others to their changes of heart. Theirs was a secret they would take to the grave, a desire they would never truly fulfill with one another no matter how many times they came together.

Always, they fought to conceal their feelings, usually meeting after a fight or in the wake of a capture/release situation, lately of such where somehow the abominations he was sent to catch managed to r16;escaper17; on his watch. His young lover never acknowledged it and he himself never admitted it, but the deed and its consequences hung above them like a cloud, and the boy always thanked him vigorously and repeatedly.

It was another such encounter on the streets of Seattle that had his agency against his loverr17;s group of misfits. They were losing and where normally he would step in and cause some diversion or interference to buy the boy time to regroup or get away, this time he was pinned; pinned by one of the riffraff, with a gun between his eyes.

He would have gone quietly, accepting his defeat and dying an honorable death r11; at least, honorable to his lover - and going against everything they had ever promised each other.

Eyes of steely blue bore into hazel. r0;If I catch you out there, donr17;t expect mercy. Ir17;m no bleeding heart.r1;

r0;Wouldnr17;t dream of it,r1; his lover replied with a smirk and added, r0;The same applies to you and yours.r1;

How did things get so skewered? Promises he meant to keep, promises he was glad he hadnr17;t. And now, at the mercy (or none) of a hulk of a...thing that stood like a man but looked like a mutt, he knew he was going to die.

And he knew it had all been worth it.

What happened next was unclear, lost in a haze of confusion, dust and bullets. Everything he thought he knew was going to happen, didnr17;t, and the one thing he had tried so desperately to keep from happening, did.

His entire unit had been wiped out, useless, the lot of them. The canine was gone, 452 was hurt and barely conscious, the Ordinary that tagged along like a bad rash lay fallen in the ruins. And the boy he was looking for - no, the man r11; well, he was...

He was dead.

His lover was dead, soaking in a pool of blood and guts, covered in crumbled plaster and dust, lying silent and still.

He couldnr17;t help but think that his loverr17;s life-blood was as red as his own, it flowed as freely and stained as deeply and it wasted and wasted and...

Rising to his feet, Ames White stood over 494r17;s lifeless form, lying broken in a circle of devastation and despair. The picture was nothing new. It was war. Bloody and brutal and it resulted in dead, nine times out of ten.

Only this time he wished it was ten for ten and that he wasnr17;t the last man standing in the end.